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The Industry Buzz

The Industry Buzz features carnival, amusement park, fair and festivals news direct from the lots. If you have newsworthy information that you would like to share on, please email For full feature news articles and exclusive interviews, please check our news and interviews section.

Talley Amusements experiencing delay with foreign labor
With the Ft. Worth Stock Show and Rodeo opening on Friday, Mary Talley of Talley Amusements has her work cut out for her.  For the past two months, the show has been having problems getting their foreign labor.  Talley reported that their paperwork was filed properly, but the US office of Immigration in Vermont will not give them an answer as to why their paperwork has not been processed.  "Our foreign labor accounts for over 2/3 of our work force.  We were able to get the show set up, but need workers to run the rides and sell tickets" explained Talley.  The Ft. Worth Stock Show and Rodeo will open Friday, January 17 through February 8 at Will Rogers Coliseum in Ft. Worth, Texas.  Individuals are encouraged to report to the Stock Show who would like to work.  Posted by Matt Cook on 1/16/2014

Tip Top Shows going strong for 2014

David & Kim Larkee of Tip Top Shows were busy at the Wisconsin Association of Fairs convention at the Chula Vista Resort in the Wisconsin Dells visiting with existing committees and welcoming new ones.   Despite recent rumors about the show going off the road for 2014, Larkee confirmed that they are still going strong and looking forward to 2014 and beyond.  "We lost one fair, but are in the process of signing several new ones" said Larkee.  "We plan to run two units during the spring, and will combine into one larger unit for our larger summer and fall events" he added.  Owner Alan Larkee will be taking it a little easier this year and letting David and company manage the show while he is not on the road.  "There may be some management restructuring" David added.  Equipment wise, the show had listed several rides for sale with hopes of selling one or two in order to replace them with something new.  As a result, the show sold their Cliff Hanger and are in the process of replacing it with a new attraction.  "The fairs always want to know what new rides we are bringing them, so we try and change our ride lineup as much as we can" said Larkee.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 1/8/2014

Rick Hagen of Waterloo Tent and Tarp passes

Long time employee of Waterloo Tent and Tarp, Rich Hagen, age 49 of Cedar Falls, IA passed away on December 11, 2013 at his home.  Rick began his work with Waterloo Tent in 2005 as a carnival business sales representative and as his sales volume grew, was promoted to territory sales representative.  Rick was well liked throughout the industry and a great friend to his fellow co-workers.  Funeral services were held on December 17 at Prairie Lakes Church in Cedar Falls.  Rick will be missed by many and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 12/20/2013

Sky Attractions sells KMG Fun Factory

Tom and Jeanne McDonagh of Sky Attractions reported a recent sale of their company's KMG Fun Factory to Nick Pelino's Showtime Rides, another independent operator playing fairs such as the Texas State Fair, Minnesota State Fair, and San Diego County Fair, among others.  Tom McDonagh cited a lack of quality help as the reason for selling the piece.  They will continue to operate their spectacular fun house, the Big Bamboo and have plans to purchase another piece in the future.  "I am nowhere near done" said McDonagh in regard to future purchases.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 12/19/2013

SAVE 10% on 2014 Carnival Photo Calendars

Through December 18 at midnight, MCW will be offering a discount of 10% off our 2014 Carnival Photo Calendars when using the discount code "holidays2013" upon check out.  To purchase, please click here.


Hurry, only a limited amount of calendars are available!  Get yours just in time for Christmas!

  Posted by Matt Cook on 12/16/2013

Dixieland Carnival adds 9 new fairs for 2014

Dixieland Carnival has announced the signing of nine new fairs for 2014 including Adair County Fair in Columbia, KY; Nelson County Fair in Bardstown, KY; Pulaski County Fair in Somerset, KY; Southern Kentucky Fair in Bowling Green, KY; Henry County Fair in Paris, TN; Obion County Fair in Union City, TN; Gibson County Fair in Trenton, TN; Dyer County Fair in Dyersburg, TN; and The Hardin County Fair in Savannah, TN.

The show will also be adding new equipment including an upgraded Expo Wheel that will be on display in Gibtown, Zipper, Cliffhanger, Area 51, Dalton Combo and Quad Runner, two inflates and four bunkhouses.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 12/13/2013

Wade Shows & Florida State Fair to host 2nd Annual Miles of Smiles for Kids Carnival
In conjunction with the Florida State Fair, Frank Zaitshik's Wade Shows will be hosting their second annual Miles of Smiles for Kids Carnival at the Florida State Fairgrounds this Friday and Saturday. Working with the Florida State Fair and Florida Department of Family Services, Wade Shows will provide 20 - 25 rides for disadvantaged children. Wade Shows is currently seeking vendors who would like to participate in the event.  Posted by Matt Cook on 12/9/2013

Industry Sources: Myers International Midways calling it quits
Industry sources have told us that Myers International Midways, owned by Bobby & Gloria Myers, will not be returning to the road with a full show for the 2014 season. Fairs and events throughout the states of Kentucky and Tennessee have reported that Myers informed them that they will not be playing their events next year. An official comment from Bobby Myers could not be reached at this time. We will update you as more information becomes available.  Posted by Matt Cook on 11/21/2013

IAAPA Attractions Expo Photo Gallery created

Didn't make it to this year's IAAPA Expo in Orlando?  We've got you covered!  Click here to view photos from the 2013 trade show.  More photos will be added throughout the week so check back soon!

  Posted by Matt Cook on 11/20/2013

Smokey Greater Shows owner Bud Gilmore Passes

Owner and founder of Smokey's Greater Shows, Bud Gilmore, has passed away. Smokey's Greater Shows plays 18+ events throughout the state of Maine. Our condolences go out to Bud's family and friends.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 11/7/2013

2014 Carnival Photo Calendars NOW ON SALE's 11th edition of our popular Carnival Photo Calendar is now on sale.  This year's calendar features over 60 high quality color photos, a listing of major industry trade shows / events, and much more.  As an added bonus, for each calendar ordered, you will receive one FREE day pass to the IISF Trade Show in Gibsonton this February!  To order online or by mail, please click here.  Posted by Matt Cook on 11/5/2013

Wade Shows adds third major coaster to show
Wade Shows announced the purchase of their third major roller coaster, the Comet II. The ride was previously owned by Murphy Brothers Exposition and has played events such as the Tulsa State Fair, Wisconsin State Fair, and New Mexico State Fair, among others. Wade Shows owner, Frank Zaitshik, reported that they were still working on routing for the coaster and had yet to determine what events the ride would play.  Posted by Matt Cook on 10/31/2013

Five injured when ride malfunctions at the North Carolina State Fair

Five people were injured on the Vortex late Thursday night at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh.  While details are still transpiring pending an on-site investigation, the piece appeared to have started moving while patrons and the ride operator were exiting the ride.  The piece was manufactured by MelPark of Italy and is owned by Josh Marconi and was booked into the fair through Powers Great American Midways whom holds the contract for the fair.  CORRECTION: The Vortex was manufactured by MelPark, not Technical Park of Italy.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 10/25/2013

Matthew S. Repp, son of Pat Repp, passes

We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Pat Repp, NAME, whose eldest son Matt, just passed away. Please keep the Repp family in your thoughts and prayers during this tremendously difficult loss. No parent ever wants a child to precede them in death.

Matthew S. Repp, age 28, of Kirkwood, Ill., passed away on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at his home in Kirkwood. 

Matt was born Oct. 5, 1985 in Monmouth, Il the son of Patrick S. and Kristin L. (Johnson) Repp.  He was raised and educated in Kirkwood, graduating from Yorkwood High School in 2004.  He received his Bachelor's Degree from Western Illinois University in 2008 in Communications and Ag. Economics.

Matt married Kendra Knowles in Macomb, IL. on May 21, 2011 and she survives.

Matt was a salesman with Kleine Equipment in Monmouth for the last 2 years.  He was a member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, Kirkwood.  He also served on the Kirkwood Park Board. 

He enjoyed fishing, hunting, collecting toy farm tractors; he also enjoyed traveling especially to Mexico.  He also enjoyed playing the guitar and drums in his band, "Final  Drive" with his brother Adam.

Survivors include his wife, parents, brother, Adam Repp all of Kirkwood; grandparents, Jim and Sandy Johnson of Kirkwood and Richard Repp of Avon; great grandparents, Marion Johnson of Kirkwood and Louise Nelson of Roseville; several loving aunts, uncles and cousins; and his loving companion, Kahne.

He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Shirley Repp.

Funeral services will be 1:00 P.M. Sunday, October 13, 2013 at the United School District #304 Junior High West Campus (formerly Yorkwood High School) with Pastor Pam Moore of the Kirkwood Westminster Presbyterian Church officiating.  Burial will take place at Center Grove Cemetery, Kirkwood.  Visitation will be Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 at the United West Campus where his family will be present from 3:00-7:00P.M.  Memorials may be given to the United School District #304. McGuire & Davies Funeral Home and Crematory in Monmouth is in charge of the arrangements, 309-734-6008.  For more information or to leave an online condolence please visit,  

Originally posted by the OABA / Matt Cook

  Posted by OABA / Matt Cook on 10/11/2013

Big Rock Amusements buys Florida based winter quarters

Matt McDonagh reported a strong season for his family's 4th year of owning and operating Big Rock Amusements.  Matt was pleased to announce the purchase of a new winter quarters and home in Venice, Florida.  The new winter quarters is located in Venice, near Denny's Electronics, which will be very convenient for McDonagh.  While the show doesn't plan to establish a Florida winter route, he does intend on booking several pieces with other shows in the off season.  Much time will be spent in the shop rebuilding and refurbishing equipment, which McDonagh says he is "very excited to get started on."  For 2013, Big Rock purchased a new Extreme ride, a Denny's Electronics light show for their Expo Wheel and other capital improvements.  Another ride purchase is already in the works for 2014 and McDonagh is also pleased to announce the addition of two new Michigan fairs.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 9/26/2013

KMG production booked through Spring of 2015

Ride manufacturer KMG of the Netherlands has been busy producing rides and attractions for showmen worldwide and is currently booked for production through the spring of 2015.

In June, KMG delivered a Freak Out to Stephen Broetsky's Frazier Shows.  This is the first Freak Out in the USA with a non-traditional color design consisting of orange and green colors.  In August, Gene Dean's Fiesta Shows took delivery of their new Speed XXL, also with a new and unique design on the platform panel.

In Europe, Mr. H.P. Maier took delivery of his 10th KMG ride. Dubbed as the Super Chaos, the ride can be best described as a oversized Freak Out with free spinning tubs on the end.  Mairer named his new ride after his most successful KMG ride, The Chaos (Afterburner / Fire Ball type attraction).  The 'Super Chaos' was officially opened and traditionally blessed by the Swiss Fair Reverend at the Wetzikon Fair in Switzerland on August 16.

This week, KMG will be finishing production of a new Speed ride for Golden Way Amusements in Australia and a Freak Out for B & B Rides and Games with new style lapbars, also in Australia.

At the end of 2013 KMG has 3 'Freak Out' deliveries scheduled for Alpine Amusements, Butler Family Fun and All Around Amusements, all in the US followed by another Freak Out for Windy City Amusements in March of 2014.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 9/6/2013

2013 Minnesota State Fair attendance report

The 2013 Minnesota State Fair concluded Monday with a final attendance number of 1,731,162, down 57,350 from 2012 and down 59,335 from the 2009 fair which was a record year for attendance.  The fairís drop in attendance can be much attributed to a record setting heat wave that lasted over a week with heat indexes ranging from 90 to 105 degrees each day.  Prior to the heat wave, the first three days of the fair were up in attendance followed by 7 consecutive days of lower then normal attendance.  Cooler weather moved in for the final Sunday and Monday of the fair which resulted in both days having record single day attendance figures of 229,943 on Sunday and 160,209 on Monday.  Keep posted to MCW for a final recap on the fair in the coming weeks.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 9/4/2013

First Day Attendance Up at Minnesota State Fair
First day attendance at the Great Minnesota Get-Together was 106,852, which was an increase from 2012 of more than 3,100 visitors! For a detailed look at daily attendance, visit:  Posted by Matt Cook on 8/23/2013

Top 5 Rides at the Wisconsin State Fair

This week, the Wisconsin State Fair announced its top rides and attractions. Rounding out the top 5 were:

1) Rip Ride Roller Coaster (Deggeller Attractions, Inc.)
2) Area 51 (Wood Entertainment)
3) Sky Flyer (Reithoffer Shows)
4) Big Bamboo (Sky Attractions)
5) Alpine Bobs (Blake's Concessions)

Please stay tuned to for a release of the entire 51 ride ranking and further coverage on this year's Wisconsin State Fair.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 8/23/2013

Official 2013 Minnesota State Fair Independent Ride & Game List

With the 2013 Minnesota State Fair right around the corner, the fair released it's official independent ride and game lineup. The fai kicks off on August 22 through September 2 in St. Paul, MN. With several independent operators opting to leave equipment at the State Fair Park in Dallas this year to play the new summer midway, the fair opened the door to some new equipment. Notable new attractions include the Rip Tide Roller Coaster (Deggeller Attractions), The Air Raid (KB Concessions/Playworld Amusements), The Big Bamboo Fun House (Sky Attractions), Puppy Express Coaster (Prime Pacific Enterprises) and the Sky Flyer (Reithoffer Shows).


Click here to download the official list.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 8/2/2013

Fiesta Shows to take delivery of KMG Speed

Fiesta Shows of New England will be taking delivery of a new KMG Speed XXL next month.  The Speed which was produced over the last month at KMG's factory in the Netherlands is due to leave for the US next week.  The Speed is a giant pendulum style ride that stands over 115ft tall with two free swinging seats on either end of the pendulum.  The Speed has become a popular attraction in the US with Fiesta Show's Speed making the third Speed delivery to the US for 2013.  Other Speed deliveries include two for North American Midway Entertainment and a second one for Ray Cammack Shows.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 7/19/2013

Ward Hall - King of the Sideshow, a biography of the most colorful showman ever to live, is now being written to be published in 2014.

Former Amusement Business journalist and former Vice President of Ripleys, Tim O'Brien has announced his plans to write an official biography on Ward Hall, the King of the Sideshow.  Ward Hall literally ran away and joined the circus in 1944 when he was a "kid" living in Colorado. He was 14 years old, a 10th grade dropout, and had only enough money saved for the bus ticket to the Big Top of the Dailey Bros. Circus. By 16 he was performing in a sideshow and by age 21, he owned a sideshow!  Today, 69 years later and countless circus and side show, vaudeville and burlesque house performances under his belt, Ward Hall is still in the business. He plans to retire when he reaches 100 so he can "see the world." Now 83, he is the undisputed King of the Sideshow.

With a show still on the road, Ward Hall celebrates his 70th Year on the Midway in 2014!

To help fund the project, Tim needs your help by donating to the cause.  For more information, please visit their Kickstart fundraising web site by clicking here.  As of today, $3,000 has been raised for the project, but another $7,000 is needed by August 8 to keep the dream alive.

  Posted by Matt Cook on 7/15/2013

Birth Announcement: Garrett Lewis Deggeller

Congratulations to Andy and Jamie Deggeller on the birth of their second child, Garrett Lewis Deggeller.  Garrett was born on July 11 at 7:02pm and weighed 9lbs 1oz and measured 20" tall.  Garrett's older brother, Gabe, is said to be the "happiest big brother in the world".

  Posted by Matt Cook on 7/12/2013

Wendell Meacham Passes

Wendell Meacham, long-time OABA member, friend and former Waterloo Tent employee has passed away. Wendell was a true gentleman with a big heart and as many would agree, he had a tremendous work ethic. He along with Vern Reiter helped create a foothold in the Outdoor Amusement Industry. The success of Waterloo Tent can directly attributed to the efforts Wendell put forth during his tenure with Waterloo, and his companionship and guidance he shared during his retirement.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are extended to the Meacham family. He will be sorely missed, especially by those whose hearts he touched. May he rest in peace.

  Posted by Pete Downs on 7/11/2013

Sky Attractions sells KMG Sky Swing to U.K.
Tom McDonagh's Sky Attractions announced the sale of their KMG Sky Swing to an amusement operator in the U.K. The Sky Swing was a one of a kind swing tower, designed and manufacturered by KMG of the Netherlands. The ride spent several years overseas before being purchased by McDonagh in 2012. The spectacular swing ride played many events including the Texas State Fair, Minnesota State Fair, and Wisconsin State Fair in addition to a winter route playing county fairs and festivals in Florida. Sky Attractions currently operates two one of a kind attractions including another KMG piece, the Fun Factory, and the Big Bamboo fun house. The Fun Factory is currently in Hawaii playing the 50th State Fair with E.K. Fernandez Shows and will be back in the US early July.
  Posted by Matt Cook on 6/12/2013

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